Tourism officials are fooling the public, taxi-man says, since industry workers are not making money from cruise ships

Tourism officials are giving the impression that all is well in the sector, when those involved are barely making any money, an industry worker gripes.

Ministry of Tourism officials have boasted about the cruise-ship calls scheduled over the next six months and the number of vessels docking on a daily basis at the respective ports.

However, even though there were four ships docked in one day recently, the man complains that neither taxi operators nor tour guides, braiders, or food vendors had much trade.

Accordingly, he says the Ministry should stop fooling the public, since nobody is making money in tourism.

The industry worker says the right types of visitors have not been targeted for this destination.  Those who come, according to him, are mostly elderly people whose spend is not that great.

While officials boast that over a half-million tourists are expected to visit our shores, smaller countries are doing much better, the man – a taxi operator – says.

Recently, St. Maarten’s acting Minister of Tourism, Omar Ottley, announced that the island expects one million cruise passengers over the next six months.

Last week, he says, nearly 15,000 tourists visited the island, demonstrating “that the Caribbean’s number one cruise travel destination was back in business.”

On the opening of St. Maarten’s cruise-tourism season, there were six vessels docked in port.  And in addition to regular calls, Ottley says, the island could expect port calls from six new ships that have never been to St. Maarten.

He claimed that bookings for cruise travel to that country are now up by 120 percent.

Meanwhile, the local operator says the Gaston Browne Administration is incompetent, because tourism was doing better previously, including under former Labour Party Administrations.